SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Legislature has voted to override the governor's veto of the bill banning transgender children from participating in school sports.
The House voted 56-18, while the Senate voted 21-8 for House Bill 11 on Friday, overturning the governor's veto of the bill. HB11, which was amended in the final hours of the legislative session, now bans transgender children from middle and high school sports. In the event of a lawsuit, however, the bill defaults to a special commission that would evaluate transgender children's eligibility to play a sport that matches their gender identity.
The commission idea was backed by Governor Spencer Cox, though neither social conservatives or LGBTQ rights groups were thrilled with it. Groups like the Utah Eagle Forum successfully lobbied for a last-minute floor amendment instituting a ban on the final night of the 2022 legislative session.
Gov. Cox vetoed HB11 with the ban, concerned about the welfare of already vulnerable transgender children, as well as legal indemnification for school districts..
The legislature will now meet in a special session to consider House Bill 3001, which offers legal protections for school districts in the event of a lawsuit.
Senate President J. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, told FOX 13 News in Salt Lake City on Thursday he believes the state will be sued over HB11 and likely lose. The bill would then default to the commission. The mayors of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have warned of economic losses as a result of the transgender sports bill — including lost sports games, conventions and other events.
Outside the Utah State Capitol, people for and against the bill demonstrated at times shouting over each other "trans rights" and "girls rights."
This story was first reported by Ben Winslow at KSTU in Salt Lake City.